California Drunk Driving Tests

The charge of drunk driving is a serious allegation, which can result in severe and long-lasting consequences. Since the main pieces of evidence presented by the prosecution will consist of various DUI-indicative test results, one of the key defense strategies we employ in DUI cases is to challenge such evidences. There are six tests that are often used to push for a DUI conviction, which we will look at below. When administered on-site, they may be called "field sobriety tests," but three of them are also chemical-analysis tests. Also keep in mind that chemical tests can be conducted at the police crime lab as well as at the scene of the arrest.

Non-Chemical Field Sobriety Tests

When a law enforcement officer notices unusual movement of your vehicle or finds other probable cause, he/she may stop your vehicle and conduct field sobriety tests to determine if you are legally drunk or controlled by another intoxicating substance. These tests are both mental and physical in nature. The first three you will likely encounter, which are non-chemical, are as follows:

  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus test, whereby the officer tracks the suspect's eye movements while he waves a stimulus past him/her. Such things as inequality of pupil size, lack of coordinated movement, and abnormal resting nystagmus may indicate eyes affected by intoxication.
  • The one-leg stand test, which requires the suspect to stand on one leg without excessive wobbling.
  • The walk and turn test, which requires the suspect to walk a straight line, turn, and walk back without undue wobbling.

Chemical Tests

There are three chemical tests commonly used to measure the blood-alcohol content (BAC) of one suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. You may be asked to submit to any of these tests at a traffic stop or DUI checkpoint, but the breathalyzer test is usually the test administered. Breathalyzer machines are so routinely the first choice, in fact, that they are also known as preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) devices. The other two chemical tests measure BAC by means of blood and urine samples. These last two are normally reserved for drugged driving suspects and for very extreme alcohol-based DUIs.

It is true that you cannot be lawfully required to undergo a chemical test until after an arrest, but there are extra punishments refusing such testing. For example, automatic license suspension will result if convicted of a DUI, and you will not be eligible for a restricted license to use for work purposes. Otherwise, a reading of .08% BAC or higher will result in a DUI citation. Conviction would likely result in a one-year suspension of driving privileges but with the possibility of a restricted license.

Fighting DUI Charges

We have intricate knowledge of the standard procedures in administering field sobriety and chemical tests. We can challenge the prosecutor's case on many fronts, including the following:

  • We can uncover any non-standard or illegal procedures of law enforcement officers in the administration of chemical or other DUI-related tests.
  • We can ensure that only licensed officers or other licensed professionals administered the tests.
  • We can challenge the accuracy of the test results. For example, follow-up tests taken at a crime lab are often more accurate and typically yield lower BAC readings.
  • We can find out if you were stopped without probable cause, forced to take a test, not read your rights, or unlawfully arrested.
  • We can even challenge an alleged refusal to take any field sobriety test.

We have extensive experience, intimate knowledge of California DUI law, and an undying tenacity that won't settle for less than the best possible outcome for each of our clients. Our Los Angeles attorneys understand how to work for an acquittal and how to negotiate for reduced charges and a lighter sentence. We can put our knowledge to work for you at your DMV and/or criminal court hearing.

Constantly Accessible, Quality DUI Defense for Los Angeles

We make ourselves continually available to those facing DUI charges in and near Los Angeles. Many fear they have a hopeless case, but our team of top-tier attorneys have a proven track record of success that extends to even difficult cases. There are often corners that are cut by police officers in a hurry to make a quick arrest, and we know how to find them to challenge evidence brought against you in court. Do not hesitate to contact us today at 424-888-4384 for more information or for immediate attention to your case.